Game theory: The Evoulution of Trust

Today we found Nicky Case’s game about game theory, called ‘The Evolution of Trust’.

The theories described there were not unfamiliar to us since we work on games connected to game theory. But this game was really worth to play because it showed again how great it can be when you not only read about something, but you can experience it.

In the first section we bring you the 3 key messages of the game, and after it we conclude why this game is a good example for edutainment.

Reading time: 4 minutes

What are the main messages of the game about game theory?

  • In long-term relationships, people do not want to cheat on each other (less worth it), it’s worth trying to have long-term relationships
  • You have to strive for “non-zero-sum games”, where both parties can win at one time, not just one
  • People need to be better informed. You need to communicate with the other party. Making bad decisions based on misunderstandings is the worst you can do.

The 17 things which you should implement from ‘The Evolution of Trust’ game when you want to illustrate something

What does Nicky’s game tells about a good learning environment?

At the starting: give few but important information

  1. Give an informative title in maximum 7 words. The title should also work as a descriptive part. You should avoid long descriptions. Use titles like: ‘The Evolution of Trust’.
  2. You should tell the players how much time they need to play the game.
  3. The game theory is represented in many solutions. Why Nicky’s representation is good is because of the simple but catchy graphics. You should make your audience fall in love with the game in the early phase. It doesn’t have to be perfect but different in a way from the ordinary ones.

How to build/write a good introduction

  1. start with an interesting story
  2. use a contradictory question
  3. grab the attention with: you have the answer or solution and you want to show it
  4. Nicky’s game has only 123 words. The shorter your introduction, the better it is.

The ‘learn how to use the game’ phase

In this phase you are put in the classical game theory situation of the choice between co-operation or cheat. It is important that you make real decisions, and simple ones. You have to choose only one decision and only from two options: co-operate or cheat.

So the way you should build your ‘learn how to use the game’ phase is:

  1. Give the player a trial situation
  2. Force the players to act (e.g. to make decisions)
  3. Make the acts as simple as you can (few choice options and easy ones to take)

Going deeper

After the first choices or decisions made you are more engaged with the game because it puts you in more complex situation against players with different playing styles and with the question which of these are the most successful ones?

  1. You should lead your players step by step on the journey of learning about core mechanics of your game (e.g. game theory).

Sympathetic communication style

It is great that the game platform communicates with you. It continuously comments the moves you make. And it takes in a style that brings the program even closer to the player. Because in the comments it can be felt that the player’s thinking is understood why he/she did the specific move.

What can you learn about communication from ‘The Evolution of Trust’:

  1. Communicate with your players
  2. Comment the moves they make
  3. Try to communicate with the players in a style as you use the way of thinking they use

What is the key driving force of the game?

  1. It takes a question
  2. Instead of answer it, it shows a situation where you can experience an answer
  3. After the experiencing phase it explains the background of what happened

Experience game theory!

First we recommend you to play the ‘The Evolution of Trust’ game. Try out it here.

Secondly, if you want to go even deeper and try game theory in a more complex situation in a more complex environment with more complex decision tree you should use business simulation. In our games we provide multiplayer environment where you have to deal with the uncertainty of decisions made by other players which method you could learn from Nicky’s game and you can master it in our game. You have to continuously modify your strategy according to the other players’ strategies. You play in a business environment where all market players with different playing styles affect the events of the market.

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